A Rare Peterson 504 Bulldog Restoration


By Al Jones

This unique Peterson caught my eye for several reasons.  I’m definitely a fan of the rustication style used by Peterson for the “Donegal” Rocky line in the mid 1970’s thru the early 1980’s and find it more appealing than the other eras.  I love bulldog pipes, and thought I knew the Peterson offerings of that shape.  However the 504 shape was definitely not one that was familiar to me.    The pipe looked in solid condition, but Sterling Silver band appeared to be oriented incorrectly. 

The “Donegal” Rocky series was introduced by Peterson in 1945 and continues to this day.  Mark Irwin has a blog entry in his Peterson Pipes Notes blog, which details the history “Donegal” line and the evolution of the rustic style.

148. The “Rocky” History of the Donegal Line

I was also pleased to find that Mark also had a blog entry on the Peterson 500 series, which explains why I was not familiar with this shape!  The 500 shapes are a bit of a Peterson mystery and Marks blog tells us that they are not documented in any Peterson ephemera.  From pictures on Mark’s blog, I was sure that the band on this pipe needed to be re-oriented.

49. Peterson’s “500” Shapes and New / Old Stock

On delivery, I my observations on the ad pictures were confirmed, the pipe was very solid.  The stem was mildy oxidized, with no teeth marks.  The bowl had a mild cake and some build-up but it also was in very good condition. 

Below is the pipe as it was received.

I used some mild silver polish to remove the tarnish from the band.  Now, I had to match the year symbol from the Peterson hallmark chart. It appeared to be an O.

Whenever I have a Peterson question, I reach out to Mark Irwin, the author of award winning book, “The Peterson Pipe. The Story of Kapp & Peterson” and the Peterson Pipe Notes blog.  If you are a fan of Peterson pipes, you definitely want to purchase this book and subscribe to the blog!  I asked Mark and Steve Laug to verify that the O date symbol was for the year 1980.  They both agreed that it was a 1980 symbol. 

The band did appear to have been removed, and reinstalled on the wrong side of the stem.  Typically the silver stamping is on the left side of the stem.  (but Mark said you can’t rule out any outcome!)  The edges of the band didn’t appear to line up correctly with the shank profile. I used a hobby heat gun to carefully heat the silver band, which eventually loosened the glue and the band slipped off.  I removed the glue residue from the shank and carefully stored the fragile silver band.  It would later be re=glued in the proper orientation.

I used a piece of worn scotchbrite to remove the slight build-up on the bowl top.  The pipe was then reamed to remove the mild cake. I filled the bowl and shank with sea salt, and added alcohol to soak overnight. Following the soak, the salt and alcohol was removed and shank cleaned.  The shank was very clean.  “Donegal” Rocky pipes typically came with a removable steel tube “stinger”.  When used with the stinger, I find the shanks of those pipes to be very clean (a dirty shank definitely contributes to causing a pipe to be “ghosted”). 

The stem was mounted and the oxidation removed with 800, 1,000, 1,500 and 2,000 grade wet sandpaper, followed by 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh. I stayed away from the light P stem stamp.  I’ve been using acrylic nail polish to fill in stem stamps and find the material to be pretty durable.  I let the paint dry and removed the excess with micromesh.  I covered the stamp with a tiny piece of masking tape and buffed the stem with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. 

I hand waxed the bowl using Halycon II wax.  Below is the finished pipe.

 

 

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